As sometimes happens in life, two very happy events have conjoined. To begin with, we would like to warmly congratulate Em and Rupert Marshall-Luck on the arrival of their first-born, Tristan.
This edition marks our tenth anniversary.Ten years ago, when I met James Turner and we discussed the idea of a non-traditional heritage magazine, neither of us could have predicted that Albion would not only get off the ground, but would also go from strength to strength, attracting a team of writers who are as talented as they are a delight to work with.The magazine has drawn feedback and comments from readers, been quoted in numerous dissertations, academic essays and monographs, and used in cultural studies classes.
In our first decade, we have interviewed figures including Eliza Carthy, Dominic Sandbrook, Helen Oyeyemi, and Rankin, so it seems fitting to begin this edition with an extended interview. Iain Sinclair is widely regarded as the founder of English literary psychogeography, andNeil Jackson met with him earlier this year for a fascinating conversation about 'lost' writers, the psychology of walking, and Sinclair's late friend J G Ballard, among other topics.
In his entertaining reflection on possible choices for an English national costume, Alex Betts considers and rejects various contenders, before plumping for a choice that will probably spark controversy in some sartorial quarters.Along the way, we discover the foreign origins of various garments traditionally regarded as 'English' (notably the surprising possibility that the Romans invented the duffel coat).
English art and English music are two areas that have often been disregarded, and Albion has always made a point of examining and fostering both.As usual, this edition contains a wealth of music reviews from James, who has worked determinedly for years to raise the profile of English folk and folk-rock music, and from Em, whose English Music Festival and label EM Records have boosted interest in English classical music. In Art, Mark Jones and Paul Flux provide thought-provoking reviews of new offerings on Ravilious and Spencer, the London Group and Michael Buhler respectively. These explorations sound familiar Albion themes, including mysticism, and English artists of immigrant background.The Art section was established by the late and much-missed Alex Flux, who would have been delighted if he could have seen us reach our tenth anniversary (one month before what would have been his 30th birthday), and we would like to draw readers' attention toa charity event in his memory, organised by Papyrus.
Regional culture has always been important to Albion, and the new film The Big Melt takes an inspiring and poetic look at the Sheffield steel industry, reviewed here by native son James Turner.Also in Cinema, English interactions with the outside worldfeature in Neil's review of the troubling Epic of Everest, while in Books, Paul examines We Did Not Fight, a collection of pacifist writings concerning the Great War, which takes in the connected events in Ireland and the tragic death of Irish pacifist Francis Sheehy-Skeffington.The War is similarly the focus of Niall Taylor's moving review of The Unreturning Army by Huntly Gordon (now reissued in a new edition) which is accompanied by an interview with the author's son.
Another traditional Albion concern is English social and political history, represented in this edition by Fred Donnelly's review of Malcolm Chase's 1820: Disorder and Stability in the United Kingdom, as well as by H V Morton's neglected expose of the pre-war slums--reviewed here by Niall--and by Steve Cox's assessment of This Boy,Alan Johnson's touching memoir of a post-war childhood spent in poverty.I examine (very) early English political history via a discussion of various fascinating new scholarly works on the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, some of which focus on Alfred the Great's unusual concern to establish an expansive concept of the Angelcynn.
Finally, Em provides detailed evaluations of various beauty offerings (this time related, unsurprisingly, to pregnancy) in the Diversions section. Our home page, as usual, features a photograph by Michael Lowe, who regularly provides us with intriguing and unexpected angles on the English environment.
In signing off for this edition, I would like to thank all the wonderful people with whom I have collaborated over the years in making Albion, for a continually revelatory and enjoyable experience. It's impossible to describe the fun I have had, so I won't try. Warmest thanks are due also to our readers, for your tremendous interest and enthusiasm. I would like to dedicate my own work on this edition to the late PM and DF, whose encouragement inspired me more than they ever realised.--The Editor